Nov 07

EXCLUSIVE: TMNTLair Interviews Tom Waltz about the past, present, and future of TMNT IDW comics! (includes some surprises!)


Well folks, if you happen to be a fan of IDW’s TMNt comics reboot (and who isn’t) then this is your day! As Tom Waltz, the talented writer of the series, was kind enough to let me interview him about the past, present, and the future of the comic series as well as what new stories and characters can we expect in the future.


TMNTLair: It has been a little over a year since the launch of the TMNT comics reboot, and it does seem that the IDW books have found a big following from the turtles fans. What can you tell us about the success of the book, and was this something expected from the start?

TW: Honestly, with TMNT being such a hugely popular license for so long, and having Kevin attached, I did have confidence we’d get a lot of early attention and big sales when the new series launched at IDW. But, I was equally confident that if we didn’t present a decent story, that early acclaim would fade away quickly. More than a year later, though, I’m happy to report our sales have remained both noteworthy and consistent and fans, old and new, have stood firmly behind us, tirelessly supporting us all the way. It’s been a great ride and I credit the success to the awesome loyalty of the aforementioned fans, as well as the great teams editor Bobby Curnow has assembled to work on the main- and micro-series, not to mention the amazing support we get from Nickelodeon every step of the way. We are all encouraged to spread our wings creatively in the TMNT comics and I like to think that shows in the final product month in and month out.


TMNTLair: You have been doing an amazing job writing the main plot and scripts of the books. How far have you planned from the start. Was there a big outline for the first few years of the series Or was the story getting developed issue by issue ?

TW: Thanks so much! It’s definitely a team effort and I’m very lucky to be working alongside Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, and the fine folks at Nickelodeon to put together the stories we are telling. As far as planning is concerned, we have had a number of long term goals in place that we’ve aim for from the very beginning — basically, plotlines that have been mapped out from the start. But, like all comic book series, we’ve also done our fair share of plotting on the go, so to speak, adjusting our storylines as new ideas present themselves (usually organically) as the story progresses. I guess I’d describe the process as predictably unpredictable.


TMNTLair: The origin of the turtles and splinter and the reincarnation aspect of it was a hot topic among fans. Did you expect such a response? and what made you go through this route ?

TW: I knew the choice to go with reincarnation would be controversial, to say the least, but the more we talked about it, the more it felt right. It not only seemed new and fresh, it seemed – ironically – logical. It gave us a solid albeit mysterious foundation to build from, making sense of the ninja aspects of the TMNT and, of course, Splinter. Plus, it opens the doors to some fantastic historical tales within our universe. And, I’m happy to say, the fan response has been, for the most part, very positive.


TMNTLair: Another hot topic was the colored bandannas, many wanted the “all red” bandannas while many others (like myself) preferred the colored bandannas. What made you go the colored route and was this planned since the beginning ?

TW: From the very start, I always said I wanted our version of TMNT to be all-inclusive – that is, I wanted it to be appeal to… and be recognizable to… fans of all the different iterations of the TMNT that have come before. Bringing the bandannas into the storyline was part of the process. That said, I didn’t want to just shoehorn it into the works, so I thought long and hard about how I would bring the bandanna change to our boys in green and I like to think, in the end, we handled it in a respectful and – like with the reincarnation origin – logical fashion.


TMNTLair: After an awesome year in the main plot, Shredder has been defined as the big baddie along with Krang. couple mutants have been introduced (Hob, Alopex, Slash) what can we expect in this second year of IDW’s Ninja Turtles in terms of plot and characters ?

TW: Various plot threads we’ve been both teasing and building will come to fruition, most notably the Krang’s War storyline. We’ll be bringing in some new – and familiar – faces, and we’ve got some big surprises in store from the Foot camp, definitely.


TMNTLair: Any plans for the, overly demanded, return of Bebop and Rocksteady ? Or Rat King and Leatherhead ?

TW: I’m always planning… always scheming… always ready to pounce! When you lest expect it… expect it!


TMNTLair: Can we expect something from the 2k3 animated series, like Agent Bishop, who has been a fan favorite since his 2003 TV debut ?

TW: I like Agent Bishop a lot. That’s all I can really say for now.


TMNTLair: After the departure of Dan duncan as the main artist, Andy Kuhn has taken over the main series. Is this a permanent thing or will we get a new artist in the next few issues ?

TW: Andy (whose art I adore) has the art duties for issues 14 through 16, with the uber-talented Ben Bates taking over on issue 17 (which we just approved to print yesterday and which Ben knocked out of the park!). And, we keep my hero, Ronda Pattison, on colors – she’s so awesome!


TMNTLair: Let’s talk a little bit about the microseries. We’ve had all the turtles covered with splinter, april, and recently fugitoid. Which other characters can we expect from the Micro Series, and when will it start again (since it seems we won’t be getting any new micro issues for the rest of 2012)

TW: Bobby can probably answer that one best, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Old Hob somewhere down the line. I can’t wait for that one! Love that cat!


TMNTLair: You guys have announced the “secret history of the foot clan”, what can you tell us about this mini series?

TW: No hyperbole here – it’s stunning! Absolutely stunning! Story and art – stunning! And, it will directly affect one of the upcoming story arcs in a major way.


TMNTLair: The new Nickelodeon’s TMNT cartoon have debuted to strong ratings and positive reaction from the fans. Are there any plans of a nick’s TMNT comics series from IDW ? and if so, will it be in the same continuity as the TV series ?

TW: There are plans along these lines but, again, Bobby’s your man with the plan for that. I can say this, though – I’m a HUGE fan of the show. Both my nine-year-old daughter and I can’t get enough of it!


TMNTLair: With such a strong reaction from fans, can we hope to see some Nick animated series characters making their idw comics debut, like dogpound, snakeweed, or spiderbyte ?

TW: Heh! I hadn’t thought about that, but who knows? It’d just be fun to type those names while I’m writing the script. Snakeweed… heh! That Mikey’s so crazy.


TMNTLair: You have mentioned before that you read the scripts of the show’s first season, what can you tell the fans who are worried that the series will turn into a mutant of the week type of show ?

TW: Here’s my advice to fans – don’t worry so much and just enjoy. We’re getting a chance to enjoy the TMNT again in so many different ways… and so is a new generation. It’s a great time to be green! I smile every time I think about how amazingly powerful Turtle Power really is.


TMNTLair: Thank you Tom for this great opportunity. Any words for the TMNTlair community ?

TW: Yes… a huge thank you to to TMNTLair and to everyone who continues to support and encourage me on this wonderful journey I’m taking through the TMNT universe. I know how lucky I am and want everyone to know it means the world to me. I have the best teammates and, especially, the best fans in the world with me every step of the way, and that’s something I’ll never take for granted. Cowabunga!

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